Terrorism 101 – Knowledge About The “What and Why” of Terrorism As A State and Local Law Enforcement Competency
In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, state and local police agencies were thrust into new homeland security related roles. One area specifically identified in national strategies and, then, supported by expert opinions for enhancing law enforcement’s abilities to prevent terrorism is through enhanced knowledge and education regarding terrorism. Terrorism has been the subject of academic work even prior to the 9/11 attacks. Some of this work has looked at the underlying causes that compel people to threaten and use violence to achieve their individual or group objectives. This body of work is a resource for law enforcement to bridge gaps between national strategies and current practices.
The primary focus of this research is to assess the current state of terrorism training for state and local law enforcement officials. It looks at whether the subject of terrorism is a core professional competency for law enforcement officials in every state and, specifically, if state and local police are being exposed to knowledge about the causes and motivations associated with terrorism in order to better understand, and ultimately, prevent it. Surveys and interviews of state officials are conducted in order to gather data about the current state of terrorism related training throughout the nation. A qualitative analysis is conducted in order to further assess the content of select course content and identify potential training and educational gaps.